5 Reasons We Can Believe Dallas Mavericks Can Stay in NBA Playoffs Picture
Being on the brink of the lottery is something the Dallas Mavericks have become all too familiar with this year. Now as the playoffs near, the Mavericks will need everything to go right to avoid a second straight season of disappointment.
The Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies are all battling for the final three spots in the ruthless Western Conference. Instead of wondering if the Mavs can make the playoffs, we are now left to ponder how they can hang on.
On track for their 14th straight season at .500 or better, here are five reasons the Mavericks will hang on and make the NBA playoffs.
All statistics in this article via Basketball-Reference.com.
Rick Carlisle just makes things happen, it’s that simple. Carlisle continuously gets the best out of his players no matter the situation. In his 11 full seasons as a head coach Carlisle has missed the playoffs just twice, last year being the most recent.
Though Carlisle and the Mavs were sent home after 82 games last season, don’t expect him to allow that to happen again. Rick Carlisle has the Mavericks playing some phenomenal basketball.
Their offense ranks fourth in the entire NBA and though the majority of their minutes come from players over the age of 30, Carlisle has found a way to make their attack lethal.
Coaching can sometimes be overlooked by NBA fans, but make no mistake about it a majority of the credit for the Mavericks success belongs to Rick Carlisle.
The Mavericks can shoot the lights out: 47.4 percent from the field, 38.7 percent from three and 80.3 percent from the line have them ranked fourth, sixth and second in the league, respectively.
They might be old, but Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter and Jose Calderon are as frightening as anybody from the three-point line. The three of them, combined with the streaky Monta Ellis, make for a very dangerous offense.
Defense wins championships, but a high-powered offense can do just as much damage, and that is exactly what the Mavericks have. Their shooters will continue to be some of the best in the league, and you can count on that to be a reason for the Mavericks sustaining their hot play.
Before there was Linsanity, there was a little thing we liked to call Vinsanity. Though you’d be hard-pressed to find anything insane about Vince Carter’s game anymore, it is rather impressive how well he has played as of late.
He has always been a dangerous three-point shooter; he has a career 37.6 percent from three, including four seasons over 40 percent. This year, he is shooting just over 37 percent from behind the arc but has gotten hot since the All-Star break.
Netting threes at nearly 45 percent from deep since the break, including a season-high seven threes against the Knicks, Carter has been a huge boost for the Mavs off the bench.
At 37 years old, he is no longer the 20-point scorer he once was, but his impact off the bench has been enormous and will continue to be a key to the team's success for the rest of the season.
Ball Movement and Security
When it comes to teamwork and communication, almost no one is better than the Mavericks. Dallas plays some of the finest team basketball in the NBA, which is seen by the team having the third-most assists in the league.
Not only do the Mavs have the ability to find open shooters, but they also take care of the ball well. They average just 13.2 turnovers per game, which is the fourth-best mark in the NBA.
Remarkably, they have just one player, Monta Ellis, who averages more than 1.5 turnovers per game. Although he does turn it over the most on the team, his ability to create plays on the offensive end of the court makes it tolerable.
The Mavericks will continue to secure the ball and be one of the smartest teams in the league this season, which are two major factors in winning games.
Threatening to secure his second career 50-40-90 season, Dirk Nowitzki is having a ridiculously good year. The 7-footer has surprised many by showing he can still dominate at the age of 35.
Thanks to him, the Mavericks are in the thick of the playoff race, battling for the sixth seed in the wildly tough Western Conference. He has shown no signs of slowing down, leading the Mavericks to a 9-2 record in the month of February. He shot a LeBron-esque 54.4 percent from the field in February, parlaying that with a lights-out 44 percent from behind the arc.
There’s no telling how many more years he will be able to keep up this level of play, but you can be sure of one thing: He will continue to produce for the rest of this season.
He is going to carry this team into the playoffs. The other factors will be important, but Nowitzki is the centerpiece.